It’s a question that is asked by many commercial landlords – how can I protect my tenants from asbestos – who have a legal duty to ensure that tenants in their properties are protected from the risks of asbestos exposure.
The obligations include taking reasonable steps to ascertain whether or not there are any asbestos-containing materials within a building, which usually involves having an asbestos survey carried out.
Stockport based Red Rock Facilities Management explain more:
If asbestos is discovered, there is no statutory requirement to arrange for its removal. Managing the risk by keeping any asbestos-containing materials sealed off and in good repair is deemed sufficient.
A landlord’s legal responsibilities for on-going asbestos risk management are passed on to any personnel or agents they hire to manage the premises.
Full guidance for managing and working with asbestos in commercial premises is contained in the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) relating to the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012. The main points of the ACOP setting out what landlords need to do to protect tenants from asbestos are as follows:
Locate and identify asbestos
Any suspicion that there is asbestos in the premises, arising for example from the age of the building or knowledge of construction techniques used, should trigger an asbestos survey carried out by qualified specialists. Failure to do so could result in severe penalties as recently reported by the HSE
An asbestos survey will use chemical analysis of building materials to identify the location and amount of asbestos present. If there is doubt over whether a material contains asbestos or not, the guidance indicates that it should be treated as if it does.
Maintain an up-to-date asbestos record
The results of an asbestos survey will indicate where asbestos is located in a building. The main purpose of a record is to track the condition of asbestos-containing materials and surrounding structures so that adequate repairs can be carried out to control the risks of fibres getting into the atmosphere.
Draw up an asbestos risk assessment and plan
Alongside a working location and condition record, the control of asbestos ACOP requires two other documents be drawn up and maintained – a risk assessment detailing the chances of anyone working in the premises coming into contact with asbestos fibres, and a plan outlining how this risk will be managed.
Inform tenants and workers
All tenants operating in a building, as well as FM personnel and external contractors, must be informed about the presence of asbestos if there is an identified risk of them coming into contact with it.
Further information can be found at Red Rock FM
Image credit: Public sector information published by the Health and Safety Executive and licensed under the Open Government Licence